Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Everything I Know About Thrifting - What and How?

What to buy? What is "worth it?"
What will I find?
How do you find great items?
How do I find great items!!?!

All good questions.

 So the series continues...

(And be sure to catch up on the first two parts of this series here and here.)

I know thrifters who look for very specific items 
and others who just look to see what catches their eye.
 Some buy for resale and some buy for their own use. 
Some look for hours, some take quick looks and are content knowing they may miss something but that's all the time they have.
I'm right there in the middle. 

(Mollie on a particularly good thrifting day!!)

I think I have a fairly specific look in my house, have favorite items that I like to use to decorate with and I have a "wish list" in my mind as well.

Sure,  occasionally I do find something kind of  'different' from my norm
 that I like it or it has potential - but rarely do I stray from my look.
That makes looking for what I thrift easy to narrow down.

So you have to decide if you just want to thrift for, say,
 dishes or blue and white Chinoiserie pieces. 
Then you simply take a spin through the thrift store looking at those items. 

If you are just looking for something to inspire you or you are starting from scratch
then you are going to need to go row by row.

As I said, I fall somewhere in the middle.
So, generally speaking, this is what I do:

1.I walk in and get a cart. Do NOT be the person who misses something because they had to run get a cart. Not everywhere has 2 part tags or allows you to remove tags. Sometimes possession of the item is it!
2. I take a quick "overview" of the store. I like to scan the top of the shelves and the lamps up high. (I'm now on a self-imposed lamp purchasing moratorium but this is how I spot great lamps!) When I was searching for globes I found 90% of them on my first quick scan at GW.
3. Then I often go to the furniture section first to see if there is big item I'm interested in. 
I have found so many pieces in my home sitting in the big blue tape square at Goodwill. 

But remember when I said I don't always find something? 
This is what greeted me this week ... not a single furniture item in the entire store! 

4. Next I start down the rows. I take a quick glance and see if the things I'm looking for catch my eye. If I think I'm interested I put it in my cart. If I find something else a few rows later then I return my item to the shelf/area it came from so someone else will enjoy finding a treasure. I feel like this is good thrifter etiquette. 

5. And if I have time I do this - It's kind of my "secret technique" and I've found some great stuff this way -  I simply turn a round and run back through the aisles in the opposite direction. I am amazed at what catches my eye when I'm looking from the opposite direction! (And people sometimes set things down while they are looking - see #4!)

6. That's it. I basically can do this and buy something in 10 minutes if I'm pushed for time. Sure, I probably miss a thing or two with this quick approach but knowing I can do this in 10 to 15 minutes tops allows me to stop by my favorite thrift stores more often. And as I said last week - I think frequency is key to successful thrifting!

I also check out the art and mirrors. I'm specifically looking for original paintings (seascapes), bamboo frames and bamboo or Chinoiserie mirrors. I'll take a quick glance at the area but I know I'm really only looking for those 3 things.
If you are less specific then you may need more time to look at all of the art and mirrors.

I actually passed on this piece and then thought about it all night!
I sent my husband back to see and it was still there! 

(And it was a better deal than before! That story here.)
The cushions were faded but it was such a high quality piece that the inserts were still firm and super comfortable.

I made drop cloth slip covers for it. That's often my go to for thrifted finds. 
If I were more secure in my sewing skills I might attempt using nicer fabric! 
But I do like the neutral backdrop this gives me and they wash and bleach so easily.

See the coral chair below?
 We were on a mission trip doing house repair and painting for Senior Citizens who could not accomplish these things on their own. The sweet lady who lived here told me while we were chatting that she didn't sit on her porch anymore because she didn't have a chair out there. I pulled up google and searched for the nearest Goodwill. I ran over there and found this chair for $5.00 along with a small table and a couple of accessories. I ran by the hardware store and grabbed spray paint in this gorgeous coral color and the girls on the trip went to work painting and decorating the porch as a surprise! This homeowner did the sweetest thing too- she told the kids they could choose her front door color! They had the best time discussing the pros and cons of the door color and agreeing on one!

At the thrift store:

On my porch:
(with drop cloth slip covers)

(older view of my porch - see what it looks like now!)

I do not generally buy anything that requires much DIY-ing or 'work' on it.
 I will paint though! I love to paint!
For me DIY-ing = spraypainting :)

At first glance the condition seems a bit rough. However the vintage vinyl seats were in absolutely perfect condition and the color was good.
They swiveled and the mechanism was working perfectly as well.
Super inexpensive and a pair which is always a bonus!

They came home with me and got a coat of white paint. They looked great!
I forgot to get a good "after" photo and I sold them almost right away! 

And back to the first line of this post... "What is worth it?"
That is a good question!
What's worth it to me is different from your answer
 and that's different from "what is it worth?"

So you have to decide how much you are willing to do - polish, paint, slipcover, etc. before you decide to take home a thrifted item. 

And as far as he value of what you are buying? 
That's two-fold.
If I like something but think it needs paint to work for me then its value is strictly about my use of it. I'm not concerned about resale value or its historical value.
Some people have strong feelings about altering the state of a vintage item with value. For me, the value is in making it work for my home. 
I have found a few amazing finds but really only one has affected my paint/don't paint because of value decision.
And it was this Gampel Stoll mirror I found: 

I posted a quick picture on IG and someone immediately offered me hundreds of dollars! 
I did a little research and decided to clean the mirror well, embrace the slight places in the finish (it is vintage after all), and not altar the original finish. I have zero plans to sell it. I love it and where it hangs but, you never know, so preserving the value made sense.

If I think something is priced too high, I'll take a pass unless I really want it. 
If you want to look for items that have intrinsic value then you will need to learn about that type of item and research the resale value or its potential to increase in value. You can look at sights like Chairish to learn about the "value" of vintage items. 
Chairish is a fun place to see "how much" one of your great finds is "actually worth." 
It can also help you to decide if its "worth" paying the asking price. 
There are also some great sellers on IG and Etsy and following them is a good way to see what the going prices are. 

(Everything in this image was thrifted!)

Have any good thrifting tips you want to share??
Next time I'm going to take an area or room or two in my house so you can see how I pull my thrifted and vintage pieces in to my rooms and make them work and I'm going to share what I've paid for many of them along the way!!
Sort of  proof that great function and style does not have to cost a lot or begin with new items!! 

Friday, September 6, 2019

Bamboo Baker's Rack plus Herbs.

I haven't had a Bamboo Friday post in ages. 
This was supposed to be ready on Wednesday but here you go - let's call it Bamboo Friday.
(It's been a Summer for the books and this is about all I've accomplished but I am really enjoying it!)

(You can see The Bucket in the background!)

I found this bamboo baker's rack a couple of years ago for less than $20.00 at Goodwill. It had 2 glass shelves and I managed to break one along the way :(  It happens. 
It was temporarily housed in my work area and so I just had wooden shelves cut for it. 

I recently decided to relocate it to my screened in porch as a home for potted herbs. 
Since I'm going to put plants on the shelves and I would be worried about the weight (especially when they were wet) 
I decided to keep the wooden shelves and not have glass ones cut. 
I also wanted to give it a coat of paint. This particular piece had some pretty rough, porous looking areas and I think it needs the protection the paint will offer.

I put this thing on saw horses and turned it every which way to paint it.
 It has so many nooks and crannies and curves.
 You just have to give it a lot of light coats from multiple directions.

I use this dark green spray paint for my porch and yard furniture. 
It is as close to the dark, Charleston green as I can get in a can.
And, 1. I don't know why there are drips on that can. I never have any trouble with this paint. It's the best coverage I've found. #notsponsored but boy, do I wish someone would send me free spray paint :)  2. That table is obviously on the 'need to paint' list! Ha!

Then I slid it in it's new spot and started filling it up with plants,
 blue and white (of course) and some other thrifted finds. 

I think that this spot will get enough morning sun and afternoon light to keep some potted herbs happy and give us great access for cooking. 
I think it will be a great spot to bring the herbs in to from their Summer spots out in the yard and winter them over. I'll keep you posted on Instagram.

And guess what popped up on my FB marketplace this week?
The exact same baker's rack with all the glass shelves.
 Not a bad price at all!!

I'm headed to the garden center for a few more herbs and some potting soil!
Do you have favorite herbs that you grow?